Good afternoon, everyone. Is anyone else here still a little wrenched by last night's LOST finale? Phew. Anyway, thought we could try something new to your weekly football chat: if you'd like to ask about my specific ranks (not completely up to date -- e.g., not factoring in a possible Santana Moss suspension -- but pretty close), feel free. The best place you can see where I have players ranked relative to one another is in the One-Man Mock I did last week: http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?id=5197845 (Of course, mock drafts don't perfectly reflect ranks, especially when debating between positions...but you get the picture.) And of course, I'll take any other questions you have, too. Let's get right to it...
Dear ChrisCould you see the Steelers getting T.O.?
Hi, Chioke. I really don't think so. I think the love Mike Wallace opposite Hines Ward, and I don't think they want to go anywhere near any other guys who bring negative headlines to teams. Then again, it's tough to find a landing place for T.O. right now at all. Maybe Denver? (That's simply based on need, not actual news.)
What do you think the worst and best draft spots are in a 12- team league this year?
Hi, Chris. I'll tellya, I had the No. 7 spot in an experts' draft a couple weeks ago, and that stunk -- the top six RBs on my board all went, and I was left with Andre Johnson. I think it worked out all right, but I really had to work to get enough "project" RBs later on. I'd really rather just get one of those top six spots, y'know?
is there anything keeping ray rice from being the number 1 fantasy scorer this year? He's definitely getting all the goalline carries now that mcgahee is gone, right?
Hi, Michelle. McGahee actually *isn't* gone -- he's Rice's backup, but he's still a Raven, so there's still a threat of losing goal-line touches. I don't imagine that it'll be the same kind of vulture situation it was last year, though, and I have Rice No. 4 on my board right now.
Who should I choose as my keeper in a PPR league...SJax or Gore? Does the recent line acqusitions for the 49'ers swing it towards Gore?
Hi, Josh. I think I'm going Gore, but not so much because of the o-line draft picks. I'm not bowled over by either of the o-linemen SF picked, at least not for this season. But Jackson's neck surgery? That freaks me out a little. The Rams say he'll be OK, he says he'll be OK, but it's hard to argue this doesn't add more risk into Jackson's equation.
How high should Aaron Rodgers go? I have people in one leage talking about taking him at #3! I say they are crazy.
Hi, JRY. If it's a standard-scoring league, I agree -- they're crazy. Listen, the point in the first round of your draft isn't to try and find the player who'll score the most fantasy points. (That sounds like heresy, I know, but keep reading.) You're looking for a player to score the most fantasy points *relative* to what else is available. That's why taking a QB in the first round rankles me -- there just isn't that much statistical variance between QBs, like there is RBs. This is the principle of Value-Based Drafting. I'll have a piece about it on ESPN.com in June (and in the fantasy football mag that should be out in a couple weeks).
Ok Christopher, I know I'm being a homer but could you see Stafford cracking the top 10 by season's end? Even with the addition of Best the strength of the O is still going to be him passing them to victories. What say you?
Hi, Bob. I won't rule it out. There were some things to like out of Stafford last year, pre-injury, perhaps mostly how much the Lions let him throw. But no, if I'm a betting man, I'm not betting on Stafford to finish near the top 10 QBs, and it comes down simply to the o-line. I don't trust it. I think he'll get pressure, I think he'll get hit a lot. I think he maybe has *too much* faith in his arm, and makes mistakes because of it. I have some belief in him longer term, but right now, I don't view him as an enticing fantasy factor.
Hey Chris, 12 team keeper question: I'll probably get MJD with the 3rd overall pick, and can keep 2 of the following: Beanie in the 6th, Crabtree in the 10th, or McCoy in the 11th. No flex spot, 2RB/3WR, and can kept players get drafted with a 2 round penalty next season. Thanks for all the help. Big Rotowski bails me out every week.
Hi, Mike. Well, the guy who represents the best value, to me, is McCoy in the 11th. I mean, he should go 7,8,9 rounds higher than that, right? But the guy I have *rated* highest of that group is Wells. I'm awfully high on Wells this year. There's lots of risk associated with him (Matt Leinart, Tim Hightower), but I think you don't go wrong drafting talent, and this is a 240-pound man who can move. I think you have to choose between those two guys.
How many carries do you see Jamaal Charles getting and will he get the goal line carries?
Hi, Mike. Well, I think in large part, how many carries Charles gets depends on his health. I can easily see him eclipsing 200 if his shoulder is OK, and if he doesn't get hurt going forward. Does he get the goal-line looks? If I'm a betting man, I say no, I say he doesn't wind up leading the team in short-yardage carries; Thomas Jones isn't exactly a specialist in that area, but the Chiefs don't care as much if he gets beaten up. I still love Charles, though. I have him well within my overall top 20.
Every time I watch Jared Cook, I think to myself in a dynasty format, this guy has a chance to be a similiar threat as Antonio Gates. Am I being ridiculous?
Hi, Brett. Cook is a talented guy, from what we hear, but let's face it: dude hasn't seen the field during games much yet. Freakish wingspan, good speed, big body -- yeah, sounds like Gates-esque physical tools. But it's concerning, how many stories you read about Cook not "getting it" yet, making mistakes, being inconsistent. And of course, Bo Scaife is still in Tennessee. I don't think Cook becomes 10-team-worthy this year. But I could be wrong...
How much does a ppr scoring system affect running backs such as Shonne Greene opposed to LeSean McCoy or Michael Turner to Jamaal Charles?
Hi, Chris. The truth is that I haven't done pure PPR rankings yet, so I can't weigh in conclusively on these two choices. Clearly, you selected the first part of each tandem here because they hardly catch any passes, and the second because they catch it a lot. I probably don't have Charles ahead of Turner even in a PPR, just because I think if he stays healthy, 15 rushing TDs is in Turner's wheelhouse. As for Greene/McCoy? I know most folks would say this is heresy, but I think it's close. I'm not quite as "all aboard" the Greene train as some others, and it's hard to see him catching any passes at all. I say that one looks like a tie to me at the moment....
Hey Chris, keep Ray Rice and lose a 3rd round pick or Jamal Charles for an 11th?
Hi, B. Without knowing who else will be kept (and therefore how attractive a first-round pick in your league really is), it's tough to be conclusive here. Provided you'll get a *very* good player in the first round, I'd probably keep Rice in the third. Charles clearly gives better value. But Rice feels like a far safer play.
i have the 6th pick in a 10 team league. I was debating between Rodgers and Andre Johnson but from what you are saying I would be better off taking a RB like Gore or Turner.
Hi, Bobbo. Well, obviously to each his or her own. I can't say I'm positive about everything that'll happen in the upcoming season. But yes, because there are so few non-tandem rushers in the NFL right now, I tend to err on the side of one of the top 6 backs if I can get one. Obviously, though, this depends on your league's scoring format....
Does Tony Scheffler have a chance to be relevant this year?
Hi, Brett. He does. He has to be healthy, obviously, and at the moment it's unclear what the state of his injured foot is (he walked around minicamp in a boot, evidently). But I don't think Brandon Pettigrew is ready to go Week 1, and Scheffler is more of a field-stretcher, anyway. I think he's a borderline top-20 TE for the season, with some upside....
Hi Chris! Who could be this year's Matt Schaub? That is, what QB going outside the first 5 rounds could end up being a top performer?
Hi, Kyle. One name that leaps to mind? Brett Favre. Now, the closer your draft is to Opening Weekend, the less of a discount you'll get on Favre, because it'll be clearer and clearer that he's definitely playing. But I got him *really* late in several experts' drafts already this spring. If we're looking for a younger guy, maybe Joe Flacco. Given a choice between Flacco and Kevin Kolb, for me it's not that close...I prefer Flacco. He needs to make it through the year healthier, but he has a lot of receiving weapons, suddenly.
Which 2 keepers from Chris Johnson, Beanie Wells, Rivers, Schaub, Vincent Jackson and Roddy White?
Hi, Jeff. Well, Chris Johnson should be the first one. After that, I probably prefer Roddy White, but I really only have him ranked about one spot ahead of Wells. Talent-wise, Vincent Jackson would probably be my choice, but I continue to fear (as do a lot of folks) that soon he's going to get a multi-game suspension handed down for another DUI.
Hi Chris, who do you think will have a better season....Pierre Thomas or Jamaal Charles
Hi, Rocko. I like Charles a lot more. Listen, running backs are a flaky breed, and I won't be shocked if he time-travel back from the future and tell me this prediction was wrong. Thomas is really talented. I just don't know that the Saints will use him enough to make him a real fantasy stud week-to-week. (If they'd gotten rid of Reggie Bush, maybe....) I know Thomas Jones can be a threat to Charles, but I think the Chiefs want Charles to take the reins, and he can be Chris Johnson Lite. He's elusive as heck. I prefer him.
Who do you think is fantasys best Oakland Raider player?
Hi, Darin. Oh, I still think it's probably Darren McFadden, though I don't know that I believe he's as good a player as Michael Bush. He's definitely faster, can get outside, and can catch the ball, so I think Run-DMC is the bigger-play guy. But he'll likely lose a lot of close-in looks to Bush. I don't have any Raider going before late in the 7th round of a 10-teamer right now.
Did you tune in to "Lost" last night? If so, thoughts?
I did. I'm a fanatic -- have been since the beginning. My thoughts were that it was emotionally a satisfying ending, and logistically maybe a little less so. To have the sideways world turn out to be "future," which is to say, some kind of limbo where all the characters went once they died -- well, it felt a little like a cheat, logically. And yet I still very much loved the series and like the finale, and have been kind of walking around in a bit of an emotional daze with a pit in my stomach all day...and if a TV show can do that to you, its aspirations toward "art" aren't ill-founded, IMO.
Speaking of pure PPR rankings, any idea on when some will be done?
Hi, Mike. We'll be doing our Draft Kit in June, and there's a chance they'll be part of those...I don't know that I'm the one who'll be doing them, though, so I'm kind of talking without knowing what I'm talking about (not a new experience for me, I'm sure many of you would agree).
YO chris whats up can you give me 3 sleepers and 3 bust for this year
Hi, Jshyne. Well, this is kind of an open-ended question...one man's sleeper is another man's standard pick, right? A lot depends on your league format. But as a preview of a Sleepers/Bust article I wrote for the magazine, I can say that the former category might include guys like Felix Jones, Mike Wallace and Michael Bush, and the latter list might have guys like DeSean Jackson, Chester Taylor and Cedric Benson on it.
Chris Harris you are great, but Rickey say that Eddie is the greatest Harris of all-time
Whoa. I didn't know Rickey was such a jazz aficionado. I'd have maybe expected him to say "Franco."
Which offseason transaction has you the most psyched about their situation?
Hi, Josh. It's hard not to look at Ryan Mathews and think he lucked out and landed in a great spot for fantasy value. I do think there's the potential for him to be a bit overrated (or at least valued at fair value) because he's so clearly got a starting job Week 1, yet we've never really seen him run and he had a lot of carries at Fresno last year. Antonio Bryant intrigues me a little in Cincy. Chad Henne looks like a potential fantasy factor with Brandon Marshall in Miami. Santonio Holmes leaving opens things up for Wallace in Pittsburgh....
Mendenhall or Grant?
Hi, Mike. As you can see in my One-Man Mock -- http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?id=5197845 -- I have Mendenhall a few spots higher on my RB list. Grant is a good player. I just find him to be unspectacular, not much of a pass catcher, and prone to being a bit dependent on the Packers giving it to him on the goal line. I think Mendenhall's upside is a bit higher, and the fact that he has no Big Ben (and thus the Steelers should have to run more) in the first month at least tips me in his direction on that one.
Hey Chris, Im in a 16 team league for the first time. Any advice for drafting late in a 16 team league?
Hi, Mike. My primary league, L.A.R.G.E. (the League of American Recreational Gridiron Enthusiasts), is a 16-teamer, and we're entering our 13th season, so you've come to the right place. My overall advice is: take the best player. More than in any format, deep-leaguers shouldn't reach for need early in their drafts. Talent will be, of necessity, stretched really thin in such a league -- so nobody is going to have, y'know, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson on the same team, as some folks did last year. That means a whole lotta people will be relying on committee backs to work out in their favor once the season starts, and that means you can do so, too. And *that* means you don't have to reach to get a RB if you hate all your choices late in the first round....
Other than Reggie, Garcon, Dallas, should I take a chance on either Collie or AGonz?
Hi, Eric. Well, I'm worried that Gonzo is going to come back and play a lot in the slot, which could really limit Collie's effectiveness. That said, I'd probably still take Collie over Gonzo. I have him inside my WR top 50 (but only barely), meaning yeah, he's probably ownable as a depth guy in standard leagues.
Am I worthy of being a starter in a 14-team league?
Boy, I don't see it. I think Hass is relatively cooked, and I still don't like the Seattle o-line, even if Okung eventually winds up being a very good LT. I'm of the mind that Charlie Whitehurst is going to play some this year. For me, even in a deep league, I'm feeling a lot more comfortable if Hasselbeck is my backup.
Which rookie do you see coming in and having the biggest impact this year?
Hi, CJ. Well, as I said earlier, it's probably got to be Ryan Mathews, simply based on opportunity. The guy who I think has the most *talent* is probably C.J. Spiller, but I'm quite concerned that he's not going to run the ball all that much, and that his production as a receiver/returner is going to be inconsistent from week to week. I love Dez Bryant's ability, too, but it's hard to argue he's got as clear a path to fantasy production as Mathews does....
No question just wanted to say thank you for being the best at what you do and the way you deal with people.I love Berry and the rest of the gang but you are by far the most people friendly person on the staff its appreciated.
Thanks, Jshyne. That means a lot....it really does.
What is the Best & The Worst NFL Stadium That you have been to?
Hi, Chris. The truth is that I haven't been to many, so I'm the wrong guy to ask. I've been to the Pats' old and new stadiums several times -- and the new one is great (and the old one was *awful* -- I remember being there during a rainstorm for a preseason game against the Chiefs, and the aisles were beneath a foot of water). Otherwise, I've only been to the Meadowlands (now defunct) and the Cardinals' stadiums....
Hey Chris, can you give some insight into why you like the defenses you have ranked the highest? Thanks, love talking fantasy in mid-May!
Hi, Kyle. Yeah, I mean, picking defenses before the season starts is *crazy* difficult...which is a good reason not to draft one until near the end of your draft. Last year, the two easy consensus to defenses? Giants and Steelers. Doh. I have the Jets at the top because of their personnel and the fact that they blitz so much, and the Eagles at No. 2 because they are the *most* blitz-heavy team in the league. I have a lot of the usual suspects you'd expect in my top 10 (Packers, Cowboys, Ravens), and a couple surprises thrown in: love the Bengals' corners, love the Niners' multiple ways to generate pressure. And a couple sleeper defenses: Broncos (interesting re-made d-line) and...get this!...the Browns.
If you select late in Round 1, what is your opinion on going WR-WR? What would you do if you were drafting 8-10 or 10-12, etc.?
Hi, Tyler. It's a good question. I don't tend to do it, because I'm a pretty big believer in trying to get one of the non-committee backs early on. But if things just happen to break "wrong" in front of you, and all the RBs you'd like to consider are gone? I don't hate the strategy. This year, where Andre Johnson feels like a clear No. 1 and after that it's a bit muddled (Randy Moss, I guess? Reggie Wayne? Maybe Larry Fitz doesn't drop off after all?) I might be tempted to go WR/QB instead. But boy, I'm hoping for some "mistakes" in front of me, so I can go ahead and get me that RB. In general, I try not to enter drafts with positional strategy hammered out. I think you have to be flexible depending on who gets selected in front of you.
What your thughts on M.Ryan this year? Top 10 Fantasy QB?
Hi, Matt. I was surprised how relatively "down" the other ESPN fantasy folks were on Ryan at our meeting early this month. I mean, nobody hated him. But nobody saw a lot of upside. I have Ryan ranked as my 12th QB, and I might've been the highest of the group. He was hurt last year. I think he absolutely could sneak into the top 10, though as I just said, I have him just outside it right now....
Who do you think has more value Larry Fitzgerald in Arizona with Matt or my man Anquan Boldin in Baltimore with Joe Flacco?
Hi, Sean. I'm still going with Fitz, because of the kind of player he is. He's just such a downfield freak. Crazy hands, very good (if not blazing) speed, wonderful body control and size...just a Hall-of-Fame type of talent. I like Boldin, but that's not the kind of guy he is. He's a possession guy, a big, physical, after-the-catch player who's likely to get hurt every year because he takes so much punishment. For me, I still prefer Fitz, though your points about Leinart being less reliable right now than Flacco is well taken.
What do you think of the quarterback situation here? Would you want Colt starting or Jake?
Hi, John. That passing offense looks pretty brutal to me no matter how you slice it. Terrible WR depth, and a terribly uncertain QB situation. I don't think the Browns would think about going with McCoy right away -- he's not ready. But will I be shocked if Seneca Wallace wins the job, or takes it over at some point during the year? I won't. Regardless, not a fantasy-friendly situation, for sure.
Keeper Question - I will probably draft AP with the first pick(CJs kept). Are Felix Jones and Flacco good keepers? I only lose the 4th and 13 for them...or should I trade for a better keeper?
Hi, James. I don't think either guy represents amazing value...each guy probably is going a round or maybe two earlier than you'd expect, but I like them both a lot. It's tough for me to be conclusive, because I'm not sure what you could get if you packaged them in a trade. But I don't hate a scenario where the building blocks of your team are Peterson, F. Jones and Flacco....
Hey what do you think a good 1st round pick would be if you have the 8th overall in a 10 team league? I'm thinking Cedric Benson. What about you?
Hi, Zack. I'll tell you, I can understand arguments for Benson in that spot, I really can. But the truth is: it was half-a-season, and then he got hurt. I like the Bengals running commitment, I like their o-line, and I think Benson has a decent year. But he doesn't catch the ball, meaning he really needs to go nuts on the ground to justify being a fantasy first-rounder. I'd feel a lot better if I had him as my RB2, not my RB1.
B.Jacobs back to bruiser we all know he can be or get off the bandwagon early before you regret it?
I'm not on the bandwagon. I think the Giants o-line is fading a bit, and I don't trust either Jacobs or Bradshaw to stay healthy all year. A super-duper-deep sleeper to watch could be Andre Brown for the NYG. (Don't draft him, though, unless it's a deep league.) For what you likely have to pay to draft Jacobs, I'd rather go somewhere else, though obviously the rewards have been really strong in the past....
Will Bradford be a viable fantasy player with Avery and Robinnson?
Hi, Darin. Eventually? Could be -- though I'd like to think that eventually the Rams will find a true No. 1. But this year...I don't see it. I think Bradford will suffer the growing pains most rookie QBs do, especially when they're on bad teams....
All right, gang, I've gotta get back to some writing, so let's do one more before we end the chat....
PPR auction league 3 keepers...Chris Johnson ($21), Randy Moss ($24), Brandon Marshall ($2), Jamaal Charles ($1)...Tough desision!!!
Hi, Rob. Yeah, I don't think you can let CJ2K go, so he's locked in. And Marshall for $2 (how the heck did that happen?) is a must-keep. Charles for a buck or Moss for 24? I probably keep Charles, and then just make sure I pay to get Moss, too. How much is Moss likely to go for if you throw him back in the pool? Seems as though you'd likely be able to pay something close to what you paid for him last year, no? So he's probably the guy I don't keep here.
All right, everyone. Thanks very much for coming to this chat -- as always, you amaze me with great questions and interest, and I'm as grateful as always that your interest allows me to do this great job. If you'd like, you can friend me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/writerboy. Have a great week, and I'll chat with you soon....